It has emerged that flakes of asbestos fell from the ceiling and into the food preparation area of a crumbling Scottish primary school, Broadford Primary on Skye.
The kitchen has been shut and outraged parents are demanding to know why their children were put at potential risk.
A letter from headteacher Stephen Atkins admitted:
“Following access made to the roof of the school for maintenance, a crack was noticed in the ceiling of the kitchen which has a textured decorative coating.
Due to the small fragments of the coating present on the floor, the kitchen area was closed as a precaution until surfaces were cleaned and the crack repaired. Sandwiches were provided by the school for children for lunch.
The textured coating in the kitchen is recorded in the Asbestos Management Plan as containing asbestos, however the risk posed from this type of asbestos is very low.
Works are being carried out this afternoon and the kitchen should be fully open and functioning as normal tomorrow.”
However the children’s parents made their fears known on social media. One described the situation as “a shambles”, another saying that keeping the building standing was “a desperate joke” and another stating their concern about “fixing the roof whilst the kids play around, knocking asbestos dust around, isn’t acceptable. We need a new school.”
Chair of the school’s parent council, Norma Morrison, said:
“There is extreme concern amongst the parent body that remedial works will release further asbestos into the school causing untold damage and health concerns.
However if the maintenance works are not conducted it will be impossible to maintain the building at all.
It is well recognised by parents, the parent council, the local authority and elected representatives that the crumbling school building at Broadford Primary School, Isle of Skye is no longer fit nor a safe environment in which to deliver education.”
However the local MSP Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) said she will not be content until a new school is built in Broadford. She said:
“This is just the latest evidence that Broadford Primary School desperately needs replaced, and should have been torn down years ago.”
Asbestos can cause a former of lung cancer which can develop as many as 50 years after exposure. Research last year revealed that around 1,600 schools – about half the total in Scotland – contained asbestos.
Before it was banned, the material was widely used in building construction, including for flooring, insulation, ceilings and walls.